In his popular book The Tipping Point, author and social sciences thinker Malcolm Gladwell says that an idea, product or service has reached the tipping point when it has achieved a moment of critical mass or reached its “boiling point.”
Another way to think about it is to picture a seesaw. The tipping point is the moment that, thanks to mass and acceleration, the horizontal board tips from one side of the fulcrum to the other.
As you’re well aware, final disposition has already tipped toward cremation. In 2016 – for the first time – more Americans (50.2%) chose cremation than body burial. But given the mass and acceleration we’ve been seeing for decades, we knew for a long time it was going to tip.
So here we are, in a post cremation-tipped world. As you also already know, NFDA predicts that the seesaw is not going to tip back to body burial. In fact, projections put cremation as the chosen form of disposition for almost 80% of American deaths by 2035.
I would argue, however, that we are still wobbling on the fulcrum when it comes to the future of the funeral. Which way will it tip? Will we tip toward embracing the necessity of full, elements-rich, personalized funerals or will it tip the other way, into a future largely devoid of meaningful death ceremonies?
In many ways, my friends, it’s up to you. It’s up to all of us who are passionate about funeral service.